UK influencer Forever Amber

The Awkward Girl’s Guide to Instagram Apps

I have something of a love/hate relationship with Instagram. Like many of you, I hate the algorithm (Does anyone actually LIKE their followers not being able to see their content, though?), love Stories, and spend way, WAY too much time messing around with filters and other Instagram editing apps. So, if this was a Facebook status, I guess I’d have to sum up my relationship with Instagram by saying, “It’s complicated.” It doesn’t actually have to be, though: so, for anyone else trying to figure out the ‘gram, one square at a time, some here are some of the best apps for Instagram Stories and grid posts – as decided by me…

Best apps for Instagram, Instgaram Stories and Photo Editing

The Best Apps for Instagram: Photo Editing 


I edit all of my Instagram photos in Adobe Lightroom: in fact, I edit quite a few of my blog photos there too, because although I have Photoshop on my desktop computer, I actually much prefer Lightroom, which I only have on my phone. Woe! This is such a powerful editing tool, and the mobile app is completely free, which makes it even more amazing. While the app itself is free (And will allow you to make a wide range of edits), however, I’ve also purchased numerous different presets for it (It’s basically my hobby now, to be honest…), which allow you to make one-click edits, and apply pre-designed filters and effects to your photos.

This is a really easy way to get that cohesive Instagram theme so many people favour, and while it’s not quite as easy as I’ve made it sound here (Presets DO allow you to edit a photo with just one click, true, but I normally like to play around and tweak the settings manually, too…), if I could only recommend one app for Instagram, this would be it. 

A Color Story

If you think you only need one Instagram editing app, well, think again, friends. While Lightroom is always my first port of call for photo editing, I also really like A Color Story, which has a huge amount of filters and effects, including things like bokeh, light leaks, etc. I tend to use these effects very sparingly, because, honestly, I think they can end up looking a bit naff if you go overboard, but if I have a particular photo that’s proving hard to get exactly right in Lightroom, I’ll often import it to Color Story and play around with it there, too. 

While many of the features here are free, you do have to pay to be able to use all of them, and they frequently release new filters – some by well-known photographers or celebrities – to entice you to upgrade. I did actually upgrade to the full version last year, but the free version is also really good, and should have more than enough options to get you started. 

The Best Apps for Instagram: Planning and Formatting


Preview is a grid planning app, and one of the biggest time-sucks you’ll ever encounter, seriously. I know Instagram themes can be a bit of a controversial topic, but, while I’m constantly trying to persuade myself I don’t need one, the control freak part of me still likes to impose a bunch of weird rules on myself: like, I won’t post two selfies side-by-side, say. Or two consecutive photos where I have my back to the camera (Which is actually quite awkward, really, because the photos I like most are almost always the ones where I have my back to the camera…).

The fact is, the majority of my followers won’t even notice these minor Instagram infractions, but they annoy me anyway, and, because I apparently have nothing better to do with my time < HOLLOW LAUGH >, I use Preview to upload all my photos, and then play around with the placement of them until I get it just right. Then, ten minutes later, I move them around AGAIN, because, WAIT, is that two photos featuring the same outfit, right next to each other? WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? 


Ever wonder how some people manage to get perfectly-spaced paragraphs in their Instagram captions, while yours are just a giant wall o’text, made that way by the fact that Instagram itself does not support line breaks? (And WHY, Instagram, WHY?) Well, wonder no more: they’re using Spacie. Or something like it, anyway. So, yes, exactly as the name suggests, this app allows you to type your caption into it, complete with line breaks and paragraph spacing, and it will convert it into a format that Instagram can read, and which will allow you to format your words correctly. It should totally be part of the platform itself, obviously, but it isn’t, so thank God for free apps that do it for you, eh? 

The Best Apps for Instagram Stories


If you like creating pretty Instagram Stories, complete with stylish frames and a nicer selection of faults than the ones that come with the Instagram app itself, Unfold is the app for you. I use this pretty much every day: as with some of the other apps mentioned here, it’s not 100% free, and you’ll have to pay to access some of the layouts (Yes, I have, and yes, it was worth it…), but it’s really easy to use, and comes with some beautiful story templates and fonts, even in the free version.

I also recently downloaded StoryChic, which is very similar: I don’t like it quite as much as Unfold, and it also has premium features which you have to pay for, but it’s nice to have a bit more choice when it comes to story layouts, so I’ll stick with the free version and see how I get on. 

What are your favourite apps for Instagram? 

[P.S. This is only tangentially related to Instagram, but I recently started a Facebook group for bloggers, so if you’re a blogger looking for advice, support, or just somewhere to have a chat, we’d love for you to join us!] 


26 ways to make your Instagram account more interesting

8 vitally important lessons I’ve learned about Instagram

3 reasons not to join Instagram comment pods


Liked this post?? Take a second to support Amber on Patreon!
  • Sharon


    Ah that’s how people get their captions spcaed out correctly. I’ve got all the others. Love the Lightroom presets and playing around with layouts in Preview. Off to download Spacie!

    July 3, 2020